Created: 12/09/2013 10:35 PM WHEC.com
(AP) VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Mike Santorelli scored two goals and added an assist in the Vancouver Canucks’ 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
The Canucks (17-10-5) earned their fifth win in sixth games and moved within a point of the Avalanche (20-8) in the tight Western Conference standings.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere lost for the first time in eight decisions this season. The Avalanche were beaten for just the third time in nine games.
Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who were outshot 29-21.
Jamie McGinn had the lone goal for Colorado, scored with only 7.1 seconds left. That kept Roberto Luongo from earning his 65th NHL shutout. He is 14-8-5 this season.
Giguere’s 7-0 start was a career best as a Colorado franchise record.
The Canucks, criticized by coach John Tortorella following Friday’s overtime win over Phoenix for an ongoing inability to finish out wins, broke open a tight game with two goals in the third.
Vancouver, shut out on three power plays, failed to net a man-advantage goal for the first time in eight games. Colorado had one power play.
The Avalanche outshot the Canucks 12-6 in the first period, but Vancouver held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Santorelli opened the scoring 5:34 in on his club’s first shot. He deked Giguere after Chris Higgins intercepted Colorado defenseman Nate Guerin’s pass behind the net and sent the puck out front.
The Canucks had chances to increase their lead in the closing seconds of the first, but Nick Holden pulled the puck off the goal line. Giguere also stopped Daniel Sedin’s backhand and then denied Ryan Stanton on the final shot of the period.
Early in the second, Giguere stopped a dangerous chance by Santorelli, and Luongo foiled John Mitchell by doing the splits. With just over three minutes left in the second, Holden beat Luongo cleanly with a high slap shot, but the puck bounced off the crossbar, went back down to the ice and was cleared.
Kesler put the Canucks ahead 2-0 at 1:32 of the second period when he tucked in Santorelli’s rebound while standing alone beside the net. The goal was Kesler’s 15th in 32 games this season, putting him seven shy of the 22 he mustered in 77 games in the 2011-12 season.
He has already surpassed the four he scored in an injury-plagued and lockout-shortened 2013 season.
About five minutes later, Santorelli beat Giguere with a high shot while using Higgins as a decoy on a 2-on-1 break.
NOTES: The Canucks recalled D Yannick Weber from Utica (AHL). He adds further depth following Alex Edler’s undisclosed injury and Tortorella’s comment that Andrew Alberts’ play "scares" him. Edler sat out a second consecutive game. ... This season marks the first since the former Quebec Nordiques franchise relocated to Colorado that the Avalanche and Canucks aren’t in the same division.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)